Mum who battled depression uses exercise in lockdown to ‘help keep mind busy’
- Credit: SAM BULL
A mum from Long Melford who struggled with depression and anxiety is teaching her sons the importance of exercise during the coronavirus lockdown.
Sam Bull and her two boys, Georgie, aged six, and Jesse, aged four, have been joining in with the Body Coach’s daily PE lessons as part of their home lockdown routines, to help stay as active as possible during the pandemic.
The full-time mum is doing as much exercise as she can to help “keep her mind busy” after years of struggling with her mental health, and wants to drum the importance of keeping active into her two children.
Sam, 34, was diagnosed with postnatal depression and anxiety disorder in 2017, a year after giving birth to her youngest son Jesse.
‘Exercise helps me see more clearly’
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She says her illness almost destroyed her marriage and family life, but after being put on medication for more than a year she felt much stronger.
“I was ashamed and embarrassed, so at first I kept it to myself,” explained Sam. “But getting help was the best thing I ever did.”
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Sam’s doctor advised her to take up exercise to help her come off her medication, as she said it would help her mentally.
Now, Sam hasn’t looked back and says “exercise has helped her see more clearly”.
Prior to the lockdown, Sam had been seeing a personal trainer twice a week and doing two home sessions by herself to stay fit and healthy.
The sudden trauma of losing a close friend in 2019 “triggered” the mum-of-two, who as a result was put back onto her medication, pairing it with exercise to help ease her anxiety.
Speaking of her recent struggles, Sam said: “I was worried about how lockdown would impact my anxiety.
“I rely on having a routine and structure to my day, from dropping the kids off at school at 9am to grabbing a coffee with a friend, it all helps work towards a focus.”
Family gets fit together
Sam says she was concerned about her mental health deteriorating, but exercising on a daily basis and continuing to implement structure into hers and her families life has really helped.
“We do teaching from 9am to noon, starting off with the Joe Wicks PE lessons every day,” explained Sam, who has converted her summer house into a mini-school where her and the boys go for their morning activities.
“Then we have lunch and have an afternoon exercise, either a walk or cycle, and the boys get some down-time.”
Sam and her husband Dave, 53, have been doing workouts together at the weekends, with Dave doing his weekly bootcamp and Sam completing her PT sessions in the garden.
Georgie and Jesse sometimes join in and the family all keep active together.
She said: “The boys know I suffered with my mental health, and they can tell when I am down, so I want to encourage them to keep active as it is so important for the mind and it is another way to kill time in lockdown.”
Sam says if she hadn’t been doing exercise throughout lockdown she “would have hit rock bottom” as its the anxiety of not knowing how long this will go on for that makes it so difficult.
Join the #KeepMovingSuffolk campaign
The Bull family is one of many across Suffolk who are using exercise to keep busy during lockdown – with keeping fit and healthy more important now than ever before.
To help keep Suffolk active, Suffolk County Council has launched the Keep Moving Suffolk campaign to ensure people continue to exercise during lockdown.
Its aim with ‘Keep Moving Suffolk’ is to inspire and encourage people to stay active, move or move more, by sharing ideas, tips, useful links and positive stories during these unprecedented times, using the hashtag #KeepMovingSuffolk.
You can follow the council’s campaign on Twitter @Most_Active, on Instagram @keepmovingsuffolk and Facebook and make sure to use the #KeepMovingSuffolk to share how you are keeping fit during lockdown.